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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Screenwriting Discussion    The 2019 Writers' Tournament  ›  Unforeseen Changes - WT5 Moderators: Mr. Blonde, Moderator
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  Author    Unforeseen Changes - WT5  (currently 499 views)
Don
Posted: July 2nd, 2019, 7:33pm Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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Unforeseen Changes by Loyal Subject - Humphries has served His Majesty faithfully for years. There is no risk too great to fulfill his duty. - Short, Sci Fi


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-------------
You will miss 100% of the shots you don't take.
- Wayne Gretzky

Revision History (1 edits)
Don  -  July 2nd, 2019, 8:06pm
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ReneC
Posted: July 2nd, 2019, 10:33pm Report to Moderator
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This is a good story, but a little fractured. Much like spacetime, amIright?  

I like the time travel stuff, though it's not set up like a time machine. Spacetime observatory, whatever that is supposed to be, set in an alternate timeline. Or perhaps the original timeline and we're now in an alternate timeline. It's all timey-wimey paradoxical whimsy.

I like the world you created, but it wasn't established very well. I had to rethink what I'd read a few times before I understood what was happening. That's partly the point, I get it, but it makes it complicated. Complicated isn't your friend in 5 pages. Especially around the part about the "East-Indian" vs "West-Indian" technicians, it's a huge leap the audience has to make sense of when we still don't know what's going on.

Still, it's a good story. The criteria is rather shoehorned in though. A bone saw (I'd considered doing something with that too) makes sense in the car, there's a full medical kit including pints of the President's blood type in the Presidential state car. And though it is a plot point, if he's going back to the observatory to be sent back in time, he would probably find a much better tool to do the job, or maybe have a much better plan. Convenient that it's a wooden fence the net anchors to, he has just the tool for the job.

The ending makes this work for me. I didn't know where it was going. It's a good cautionary tale.

It's loose with the criteria, but it's there. Well done.


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Warren
Posted: July 3rd, 2019, 3:15am Report to Moderator
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Hi writer,


Quoted Text
At the end, Dr. Johnson keypads open a bulky metal door to


I think this could be better written, it's the first thing that really took me out the read because I had to go back and read it again.


Quoted Text
six YEARS ago


Why is years capitalised, I don't think it adds to the read in any way.

A lot of the backstory is being drip fed by the dialogue, I'd be lying if I said it was 100% clear to me. I may have to read this one again.


Quoted Text
EDWARD
Humphries, this is a state-of-theart fuel cell vehicle. Why on Earth
is there a saw in this kit?


Um... to meet the criteria of course  


Quoted Text
Yankees HAD seen


I'm not sure why you do this and what purpose it serves, other than to make me stop reading and ask why you do it.

It doesn't feel like there was really a whole lot at stake.

The writing is pretty good apart from the random capitalising, I don't like that at all.

Can't say the story grabbed me. I was confused a fair bit. Probably says more about me than you, but still.

It will most likely be closer to the top of the pile, I imagine, compared to many of the others I have read so far.

All the best.


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hawkeye
Posted: July 3rd, 2019, 8:49am Report to Moderator
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Time travel is always tricky to handle in a story as it can be complicated and hard to convey in a short of this length. However other than the opening descriptions of the time travel, I think you managed it.

I was a little dubious of the broken down car and the saw.  It’s really a crash rather than being broken down, and the saw was sort of shoe-horned in and had no bearing on the story, really. I guess he’s going to use the saw on the fence, but he only talks about it. So very little use of the object of the challenge here.

Overall, decent story though and the writing isn’t bad. Good visual descriptions and nice set up for the ending.

Best of luck and congrats on finishing the challenge!
Gary


My web site and scripts can be found here:

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JEStaats
Posted: July 3rd, 2019, 8:04pm Report to Moderator
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Ben Navis? It's spelled Ben Nevis. I've always wanted to go ice climbing there!

That was quite interesting and could be fleshed out for a much longer piece or feature. I like the mishaps of unguided/inaccurate time travel with good intent. Always entertaining when done right.

There were a couple minor mistakes (e.g. an male) but it didn't detract from the story. Nice work, writer.
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Fais85
Posted: July 4th, 2019, 1:49am Report to Moderator
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This can easily work for a feature-length screenplay. You created nice visual images. Overall decent story.
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Spqr
Posted: July 4th, 2019, 3:14pm Report to Moderator
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Good script with an excellent ending. The intricacies of time travel, with its constant requirement to examine potential paradoxes and the creation of alternate timelines, is a necessary aspect of this genre, but in a script this short I think it can slow things down. While there’s little “technical” talk here, what there is is a little confusing.

A slight correction is necessary on page 4: Edward confesses that the UK may have lent the “separatists” in Texas and California some help. On the same page the SOLDIER says they’re being attacked by “American separatists.” Perhaps the American separatists should  be referred to as terrorists (“one man’s freedom fighter, is another man’s terrorist”).
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Matthew Taylor
Posted: July 5th, 2019, 7:22am Report to Moderator
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Hello writer

Oh boy, another time travel script... I can sense another headache coming.

You tried to tell WAY too big a story for 5 pages (Please write a longer version though, I like the story in this)
But yea, not good for 5 pages, I am left with too many unanswered questions, too much left hanging and not wrapped up.

I'm also not entirely sure it makes much sense - What packages are they sending? and what is the relevance of the hologram sent 18 minutes back in time?


Quoted Text
EDWARD
We may have lent the separatists a
small measure of technical
assistance. Discretely, of course.


This makes it sound like they are supporting the separatists, but are then attacked by separatists - why are there American separatists in Scotland?

Why would going back 23 hours change the flag on the moon? (That is a very good image though, I liked that)

Sending something back 18 minutes changed something 6 years earlier - Humphries went back 1,380 minutes... so if it affects time in the same way, that would have changed something 460 years in the past... is that the answer? I'm very confused.

As a short, this does not work for me - but the idea is great, the world is great, it just needs a lot more room to be fleshed out properly.

All the best



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AnthonyCawood
Posted: July 5th, 2019, 1:36pm Report to Moderator
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I liked the idea behind this but have to admit that I found it a little difficult to follow at times.

The consequences of messing about with time were nicely handled and I liked the ending too.

Hand saw felt a little shoe -horned.

Maybe this just needs more than 5 pages to breathe a little.


Anthony Cawood - Award winning screenwriter
Available Short screenplays - http://www.anthonycawood.co.uk/short-scripts
Available Feature screenplays - http://www.anthonycawood.co.uk/feature-film-scripts/
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eldave1
Posted: July 6th, 2019, 11:48am Report to Moderator
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Quoted Text
SUPER: Ben Navis Spacetime Observatory, Scotland, United
Kingdom


a NIT - But since your SUPER is going two lines - probably helpful to put the time here - e.g., PRESENT DAY or whenever it takes place.

To me, this one barely meets the parameters - the saw has no bearing on the story and the car is barely there for the first 3 or 4 pages.

Good writing for a three day effort - got confused in a few spots and had to re-read - I did like the vibe/world setting


My Scripts can all be seen here:

http://dlambertson.wix.com/scripts
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PrussianMosby
Posted: July 8th, 2019, 6:26pm Report to Moderator
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Unforeseen Changes

The insert hologram concept isn't executed well imo. It doesn't translate to me and stops the read with a question mark in my head. Think different how to present that shot better, perhaps in a rather pragmatic and simple way I'd say.

Then why the Geiger counter if it's a hologram? A hologram has no matter.

Hmm. You might have mixed that up with teleportation… no clue

Okay I stuck here for a looong time… I just read on.

Ahhhh, the dialogue " Where is that gentleman?" makes me believe the Geiger counter man is also part of the hologram. Damn, how complicated presented of you. Get rid of that insert stuff and think easy.

P3 Wait, I already read in full slow-motion but, what's going on here?

Not sure if others understand this, haven't read any comments, but if not, and if you want me to, I can point out what confuses me here in detail after the challenge is finished. Specifically,I think a huge problem is that the characters know far more than I do, about the whole back-story I mean. A fair bit is okay and welcome but they talk about a story here that I don't experience the slightest. I haven't seen any of it and find me standing at the station while the train departed a long time ago.

Broken car, hand saw, story… no, not for me. Sorry.



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khamanna
Posted: July 8th, 2019, 10:53pm Report to Moderator
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Good story and everything good here for me except for the Narrator. I usually like those, but your Narrator was a lot on the nose I think. He was just explaining everything that needs to be explained. And he does that from the very beginning. I think you can easily lose him, your story doesn't call for him at all.
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jayrex
Posted: July 11th, 2019, 12:04pm Report to Moderator
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Cut to three weeks earlier

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Not bad.  There's a story in there.  I don't think it was executed as well as it could have been.  The criteria has been met.  There's a few mistakes to correct.  When you write British accent.  I can't imagine a Brit doing this since there's so many, Scottish, Welsh, English, Northern Irish, etc...  I'd be more specific.  Also, UK emblem sounds odd.  Are we talking soldier?  SAS?


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FrankM
Posted: July 13th, 2019, 10:07am Report to Moderator
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I apologize that - while I had plenty of time to think about the story - I only had three hours to type up this thing. Quite a few typos got through, and you dear readers shouldn't have had to endure that. Though I wasn't the only one who used a vehicle disabled by a hostile force, it's fair criticism that the story played fast and loose with the criteria.

I've noticed a pattern in which some fundamental flaw will cloak itself and only become visible to me after the submission deadline. In this case it's the absolutely rubbish title and completely uninformative logline. Any revision will likely be under the title "Ripple Effect" or the more science-y "Unexplained Variance".

One scene I rather liked had to be cut for space. Originally, we were going to flashback to the assassination attempt in India where you'd see that East-Indian Technician guy with a rocket launcher and a sash that says "Na avasar, na shaanti" ("No opportunity, no peace" in Hindi). Setting up the rules for time travel can really eat into your allotted pages! Thing is, even in a re-write it won't be coming back (unless you want to see an INSERT inside a FLASHBACK inside an action scene).

This is roughly how Europe had carved up North America in the Mid-Eighteenth Century:



Texas was the north-eastern part of the New Spain (the river forming the border is drawn on the map) and California was the north-western part. In our timeline France sold Louisiana to the U.S. for a song after struggling to put down a rebellion elsewhere in the New World. In the original timeline, Humphries alludes to England stirring up enough trouble there that France sold it.

In our timeline, Texas eventually rebelled from Mexico (which by then wasn't part of New Spain anymore). Insurgents calling themselves the California Republic tried to rebel but hadn't made any progress before the Mexican-American War ended with the US seizing a huge swath of northern Mexico including California. In the original timeline, Mexico was still New Spain at the time and those restive areas never managed to break free.

Not sure exactly where to call the point of departure between the original timeline and the one we remember. Delaying the colonization of the New World by a century would work. A Declaration of Independence in 1876 would have been crushed by an early Industrial Age army, but that change would be over 500 years ago. Another option would be letting the Americans (and Indians and South Africans and Australians and so on) have seats in Parliament similar to Scotland, though the outlying colonies would have significantly less representation than would be proportional to their populations.

Without the page limit, I could give Humphries a bit more character development. I envisioned him trying to keep a tight lid on a Cockney accent, but with the occasional outburst when upset. Problem is, I don't have a good repertoire of PG-rated British cusses. "Bloody Hell" seems kinda overdone.


Quoted from Warren
It doesn't feel like there was really a whole lot at stake.


The king was assassinated, and the attempt to save him wiped most of the British Empire off the map. I know, I should have written about something important, but sometimes I like to stop and take my time with a small detail


Quoted from Warren
The writing is pretty good apart from the random capitalising, I don't like that at all.


Capping in the dialgoue was for emphasis. I generally reserve italics for foreign words and bold for sluglines. Yes, I intentionally didn't bold them most weeks in an attempt to hide my style. Less obviously, I tried to make this look like it was written by a Brit... though after submitting I remembered that "Mr." and "Dr." don't take a period in British spelling, and as jayrex pointed out there's really no such thing as a "British accent."


Quoted from JEStaats
Ben Navis? It's spelled Ben Nevis.


I could claim this was the correct spelling in an alternate timeline ("Fringe" did that a lot), but in truth it was just a silly typo.


Quoted from Spqr
A slight correction is necessary on page 4: Edward confesses that the UK may have lent the “separatists” in Texas and California some help. On the same page the SOLDIER says they’re being attacked by “American separatists.” Perhaps the American separatists should  be referred to as terrorists (“one man’s freedom fighter, is another man’s terrorist”).


I thought American Separatists would be the term least in need of explanatory dialogue. "Yankee" was the British military's generic nickname for American adversaries, just like the Germans were "Jerry" and the Viet Cong where "Charlie." I suppose the soldier simply could have called them Yankees, and then someone inside the car obliquely gives a definition.


Quoted from Matthew Taylor
I'm also not entirely sure it makes much sense - What packages are they sending? and what is the relevance of the hologram sent 18 minutes back in time?


This definitely could have been clearer... just by inserting a word or two into the dialogue. The "package" was the caged mouse and a memory card containing a recording of them watching for an arriving package. So, the timeline we started in is not the "original-original" timeline. Folks in the "original-original" timeline sent a package back 18 minutes and it changed something in their past. Reasonable guess by the "original" folks that the change was six years prior, but it's never confirmed.


Quoted from Matthew Taylor
Sending something back 18 minutes changed something 6 years earlier - Humphries went back 1,380 minutes... so if it affects time in the same way, that would have changed something 460 years in the past... is that the answer? I'm very confused.


You are entirely correct. Sending Humphries back several hours causes a change much further back in the past, changing their timeline to ours. 1559 is the year Elizabeth I of England and Francis II of France were crowned, and also the year the first colony was established in the New World (by Spain... which abandonned it two years later). Plenty early enough to rewrite virtually the entire history of North America.

Obviously, this screenplay was sent back to me from a minute or so past the deadline, and a ripple effect changed my "Image Problem" script from four weeks prior into something truly terrible. It's the only logical explanation.

Didn't have space for it in five pages, but I do have a sorta-worked-out analogy with ripples in flowing water. Throw a stone back upstream, the splash dislodges several droplets that fall in scattered directions. Or something like that.

Wedging that into the story is going to require Humphries to make two jumps back. On Dr. Johnson's advice, he first jumps back just an hour or so to warn the security detail... perfectly willing to then put a bullet through his brain if having two Humphries around would be dangerous. This doesn't work (because Plan A never works), and he makes the longer jump from there.


Quoted from eldave1
a NIT - But since your SUPER is going two lines - probably helpful to put the time here - e.g., PRESENT DAY or whenever it takes place.


This is a good idea, though a tad misleading since it's in an alternate timeline


Quoted from khamanna
Good story and everything good here for me except for the Narrator. I usually like those, but your Narrator was a lot on the nose I think. He was just explaining everything that needs to be explained. And he does that from the very beginning. I think you can easily lose him, your story doesn't call for him at all.


Dumping the Narrator would be my preference as well, which would be one of the goals for a re-write. Besides, having a female British omniscient narrator makes it sound derivative of "Good Omens."



Revision History (1 edits)
FrankM  -  July 13th, 2019, 12:30pm
Corrected typos in my mea culpa about typos
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PKCardinal
Posted: July 13th, 2019, 11:15am Report to Moderator
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Man, Frank. Next time develop a little more backstory, would ya'?

(I kid, of course.)

You had more backstory than you had pages to work with!

Well done, and congrats on a top finish.


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